Brock Kusen trial: Driver found guilty in death of Jess McLennan

GUILTY: Brock Kusen at Wangaratta County Court on Tuesday. He faces up to 10 years in jail.
GUILTY: Brock Kusen at Wangaratta County Court on Tuesday. He faces up to 10 years in jail.

Tears of relief washed over the family of Jessica McLennan as they finally heard the verdict: Brock Kusen was guilty of dangerous driving causing death.

The nine-man, three woman jury had spent about 11 hours over two days deliberating the circumstances of the crash in Lilliput on June 1 last year. 

Kusen, now 20, had drifted onto the wrong side of Rutherglen-Springhurst Road into the path of one woman who managed to avoid a major collision, then head-on into Miss McLennan’s car.

The jury came to a 11-1 majority decision, rejecting the defence argument he was innocent because of a possible “micro sleep”, making his actions involuntary and just a terrible accident.

Kusen had not showed any emotion during the six-day trial, but closed his eyes and took a deep breath as he stood to hear the jury decision, then sat with is face in his hands. In contrast, Miss McLennan’s parents, former fiance, and a big group of family and friends openly cried and embraced.

Father Wayne McLennan said he was simply relieved to hear a guilty verdict.

Jessica McLennan

Jessica McLennan

“It’s been 18 months – my daughter’s going to work as an innocent girl, but didn’t make it to work. Justice has been served, I think it’s the right outcome,” he said.

“It’s just relief, my daughter didn’t die in vain … As a dad, I can’t be much happier than that,”

“There’s no winners in this, I’m always going to be sad the rest of my life because Jess is not with me anymore.”

The trial was difficult for the family, listening to evidence of how Miss McLennan had no chance to react as Kusen’s BMW crashed into her at 96km/h.

They embraced prosecutor Andrew Moore and the police major collision investigation unit’s Detective Sergeant Robert Hay, who put the case together.

“For me it’s never going to end, but this is a good outcome for Jess,” Mr McLennan said.

“She donated (her organs) to save five people, for someone of such a young age, she was such a loved person. She was a beautiful girl, no one hated her, she was just loved.”

Kusen was released on bail until a plea hearing on December 12 for discussions ahead of the sentence, which could be up to 10 years in jail.